England 2019: Flutter Magazine Retreat in the Cotswolds Part One
If you’ve not yet read about my solo adventures in Newbury and Bath, you might want to head there first. After three days into my England trip, I drove north to the Cotswolds for the Flutter Magazine Retreat. For about a year, I’d had my eye on the retreats hosted by Flutter Magazine and Joy Proctor. I finally signed up for their Cotswolds adventure and am thrilled to share some highlights from the first half of the retreat.
Norton Hall Welcome Party
Norton Hall, a private estate, served as our lodgings for the week. It’s tucked away in Mickleton, England, and surrounded by acres and acres of land. The driveway to the property is flanked by large grass pastures inhabited by sheep. It doesn’t feel much like the English countryside without livestock! Once inside our rooms, we opened our gift of a beautiful Plum Pretty Sugar robe and a bottle of rose mist from Herbivore Botanicals.
On the first evening, Kim of Flutter Mag and Joy Proctor put together a gorgeous welcome dinner. Floral centerpieces by Bows and Arrows adorned the center of the linen-covered table. Despite the rain pushing the dinner indoors, everyone had a wonderful time sipping rosé and eating delicious meals cooked by Eat 5 Star.
MonAnnie provided us with exquisite desserts. Just wait until you see the cake she created for the farewell dinner!
Cotswolds Villages & Dinner at Barnsley House
Saturday morning, we had a watercolor lesson. I forgot to photograph it on my film camera as I got wrapped up in my attempt to paint. I managed to snap two iPhone shots at the end.
Thankfully I had my camera on our village outings. We began our trip in Broadway – a charming Cotswold village with adorable boutiques.
Our next stop was in Stow-on-the-Wold, a market town in Gloucestershire. Clearly I have a thing for houses covered in greenery!
Lastly, we made our way to Bibury which was very obviously a tourist destination. Dozens and dozens of people filled the streets for the right photo opp. Many of the homes had signs asking people to not enter their yards. I imagine living in such a beautiful area comes at the cost of privacy.
Before heading back to Norton Hall, we toured Barnsley House which is a stunning spa resort in Cirencester.
Cooking Lesson at Daylesford Farm
Our cooking lesson at Daylesford Farm probably tops my list of highlights from the Flutter Magazine Retreat. Upon arrival, we were shown into the private kitchen for our lesson. Our first task was to make pasta dough from flour, eggs, salt, and a little olive oil. Much easier than I thought!
After making our pasta dough and setting it aside to proof, the chefs gave us a long tour of the farm where we foraged vegetables and herbs for our soup. Although most of our trip featured rainy days, our afternoon at Daylesford Farm couldn’t have been more pleasant!
We returned to the classroom kitchen to make our vegetable soup. Radishes, asparagus, thyme, lemon, salt, a few more vegetables, and Daylesford-made vegetable broth went into this delicious dish. Once our soup was made and enjoyed, we took our pasta dough back to our stations to prepare it for cooking.
I had such a lovely time learning to make pasta and making new friends. The meals themselves were just as good as the memories. Afterwards, we strolled through the gift shop. Their flower shop caught my eye and I couldn’t help but use the last of my film roll on their display. Part Two of the Flutter Magazine Retreat and part three of my England adventures goes live soon. Check it out for our trip to David Austin’s Rose Farm!